The Wasp

Published December 14, 2015

What’s it all about?

Transferring to the Trafalgar Studios from the Hampstead Downstairs, The Wasp is about disturbing and lasting childhood experiences.

It centres on old school friends Heather and Carla who meet for the first time in years at a café. Pregnant with her fifth child, Carla is struggling to make ends meet; for Heather, money is no object, so when Heather makes a proposition that could see Carla walk away with a tidy £30,000 it’s an offer she finds hard to refuse. Well, she can’t. But little does she know what she’s letting herself in for by accepting…

Who’s in it?

Laura Donnelly and MyAnna Buring take on the only characters in this tense and thrilling two-hander. Their roles couldn’t be more different but each is as compelling as the other in this suspense and shock-filled production.

Donnelly’s Heather is well-spoken, well-dressed and consumes camomile tea, but as she unleashes revenge for a disturbing attack she endured in the past, her transformation is utterly terrifying. Worlds apart from Heather, Buring is excellent as the chain-smoking, builder’s tea-drinking Carla who becomes the victim of a more immediate, but equally chilling, attack.

What should I look out for?

The reason for the play’s title. The production images may give you some indication but it is Donnelly’s description – of how a spider wasp tortures its prey – that paints the more disturbing picture.

The moment when Donnelly’s Heather sits back with a slice of cake and a magazine. It might sound fairly insignificant but, in context, it’s both funny and alarming.

In a nutshell?

MyAnna Buring and Laura Donnelly give unforgettable performances in this tense and unsettling drama from Morgan Lloyd Malcolm.

What’s being said on Twitter?

Will I like it?

Forget festive heart-warmers! This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, comfortable viewing. This is not a charming tale that lets you sit back and relax for an hour and a half on a cold winter’s evening. It’s definitely not that. This is tense and unnerving drama at its best, and with Lloyd Malcolm’s snappy dialogue, Tom Attenborough’s well-measured direction, and Donnelly and Buring’s captivating performances, this is gripping must-see theatre that asks how much of what happens to us as children affects us in later life.

The Wasp is playing at the Trafalgar Studio 2 until 9 January. You can book tickets through the venue’s website.

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